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#2011734 - 01/09/13 02:27 PM programs where the pieces are harmonically linked
JoelW Offline
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Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 5607
Loc: USA
How often you encounter a pianist reciting a program where the pieces are, either by accident or not, harmonically linked? Maybe 'harmonically linked' isn't the right term. As in... the key of each piece makes for smooth transitions between them, and the ear very much enjoys it. Have you ever tried to put together a program like this?

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#2011754 - 01/09/13 03:14 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
BruceD Offline

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Registered: 05/26/01
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Loc: Victoria, BC
It seems to me that there are many ways that a pianist could conceive this type of program :
- circle of fifths
- circle of fourths
- major/minor/major (C major/A minor; A/major/F-sharp minor; F-sharp major/E-flat minor, etc.,
- chromatically, ascending or descending

but it all sounds pretty artificial and contrived unless there were some other more unifying thread in the program. Otherwise, I would have to ask : why?

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#2011862 - 01/09/13 07:09 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
davaofthekeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 243
Rather than 'harmonically linked', I would suggest looking at the tempo of the pieces. Playing too many slow ones in a row can get a bit sleepy for the listeners, I usually try to alternate between slow/fast pieces when possible for maximun variation.

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#2011971 - 01/09/13 11:16 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
Plowboy Offline

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Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2805
Loc: SoCal
Well, I saw Andras Schiff perform WTC Books I and II. Those are harmonically linked, I guess.


Edited by Plowboy (01/09/13 11:16 PM)
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#2012416 - 01/10/13 06:50 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2829
at the moment I play in a program Chopin op.57 followed by op.35, D-flat and b-flat, it works, it is a shock by all means, to go from sleeping sweetly into a nightmare, well, it works, the more as the 2 works share a 'common' key and are played without a break (so to speak). In general the audience isn't at all aware of keys, so one is free to play any key, any piece of any period, as long as the program is interesting/musical/worthwile. No one ever minds that Kreisleriana is half an hour of g-minor (bit of relative major).
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#2012421 - 01/10/13 06:54 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
beet31425 Offline
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Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 4169
Loc: Bay Area, CA
I didn't perform these, but I had worked up Chopin's op.10/6 to be followed by op.10/12.

The ending of op.10/6 (with its sudden resolution to Eb major) followed immediately by the crashing G7 opening of op.10/12 was pleasing to me.


-J
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Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann

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#2012424 - 01/10/13 07:08 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
dolce sfogato Offline
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Registered: 03/29/10
Posts: 2829
I do op.10 and op.25 and they seem to work better than the lot of op. 28, due to the music rather than the keys I suppose.
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#2012435 - 01/10/13 07:33 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 21702
Loc: New York City
Although occasionally pianists choose the order of pieces or the actual pieces based on their keys, in my experience it is extremely rare. I can only think of a handful of concerts in almost 50 years of concert going where this was an obvious consideration. I think most would say this is of such minor importance compared to every other consideration that 99% of concert goers don't care about it.

I agree with other posters who said it's very artificial.

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#2012557 - 01/11/13 12:37 AM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
Ferdinand Offline
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Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 954
Loc: California
I once heard Richard Goode play a recital the second half of which consisted of Brahms op. 118 (entire) followed by Beethoven op. 111. The transition was very striking. One could say the keys are related in that the second (c minor) is the relative minor of the parallel major of the first (e flat minor.) But more important is that the final chord of the Brahms includes the pitches of the opening octave of the Beethoven.

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#2012588 - 01/11/13 02:25 AM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
Nikolas Offline
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Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 6434
Loc: UK
If you consider that a sonata (classical anyhow or neo-classical) have links in their tonalities between movements, I'd say that this is as far as I'd go... I mean a sonata can very well be 25-30 minutes long (especially A Prokofiev one, or a late Beethoven one), so it covers 2/3rds of a 1st half of a program (of, of, of... nice going... heh).

I doubt there's much need for anything else and as others said it would sound rather artificial.
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#2012612 - 01/11/13 04:47 AM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
Julian_ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 798
Loc: London, UK
Originally Posted By: Joel_W
How often you encounter a pianist reciting a program where the pieces are, either by accident or not, harmonically linked? Maybe 'harmonically linked' isn't the right term. As in... the key of each piece makes for smooth transitions between them, and the ear very much enjoys it. Have you ever tried to put together a program like this?

Sometimes this is built into sets of pieces by the composer. For example, most of Rachmaninoff's Op.23 and Op.32 preludes are linked by having a prominent note at the end of one piece appear at or near the beginning of the next piece. Most of Dvořák's Silhouettes, Op. 8 also do this, and I seem to remember that some groups of pieces within Fibich's Moods, Impressions & Souvenirs, Op.41 do it as well.
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#2012623 - 01/11/13 06:10 AM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: BruceD]
wr Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 8735
Originally Posted By: BruceD
It seems to me that there are many ways that a pianist could conceive this type of program :
- circle of fifths
- circle of fourths
- major/minor/major (C major/A minor; A/major/F-sharp minor; F-sharp major/E-flat minor, etc.,
- chromatically, ascending or descending

but it all sounds pretty artificial and contrived unless there were some other more unifying thread in the program. Otherwise, I would have to ask : why?




I think oftentimes we as listeners will experience the key sequence of pieces in a program as being either musical somewhat logical or maybe not so much, but it is pretty much unconscious (unless it's a group of small pieces - it becomes more obvious, then). I have some not-very-specific memories of concert pianists talking about taking the key relationships of pieces into consideration when planning a program, but it's not like they advertise to the audience that they've done so. I don't see why that kind of planning would be any more "artificial" than any other kind of planning, if it makes sense to the performer.

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#2013915 - 01/13/13 12:34 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
AldenH Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/22/11
Posts: 414
Loc: Texas
There are links between Chopin Op. 25, Nos. 5, 6, and 7 (all linked via G-sharps). Charles Rosen pointed that out.

There's also the interesting 'hanging note' that appears at the very start of Op. 25, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Almost a suspension of time.

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#2013948 - 01/13/13 02:40 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: JoelW]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 21702
Loc: New York City
If one looks hard enough one can probably always find some kind of link(key, motivic, mood, tempo, etc. ad infinitum) between pieces in a recital program or consecutive pieces in a set. But I have serious doubts whether this is usually important. I don't think, except in the case of Sonatas, that the composer or performer always made these links on purpose, but rather that they often "discovered" by someone looking for some kind of link.

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#2013956 - 01/13/13 03:01 PM Re: programs where the pieces are harmonically linked [Re: AldenH]
BruceD Offline

Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 19904
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: AldenH
[...]
There's also the interesting 'hanging note' that appears at the very start of Op. 25, Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Almost a suspension of time.


I certainly wouldn't think of these notes as "... a suspension of time" which, if played as such, would destroy their function. Quite the contrary, these notes are upbeats leading to the mean beat, and should be both conceived and played as such.

Regards,
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